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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-07-05

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Tuesday, 5 July 2011 Issue No: 3829

CONTENTS

  • [01] FM on Gaza initiative; statements by spokesman
  • [02] UN chief backs Greek initiative for Gaza humanitarian aid transport
  • [03] Gaza flotilla ship remains docked in Hania
  • [04] Harbour Corps stops ship sailing for Gaza
  • [05] FinMin: Initiatives in coming days aim at halting recession, return to growth rates
  • [06] Commission expects progress in Greek debt plan at July 11 Eurogroup meeting
  • [07] PM to chair meetings on justice, employment and growth issues on Tuesday
  • [08] Gov't calls on parties to take 'clear position' on phenomena of violence
  • [09] Papoulias briefed on developments in hydrocarbon sector
  • [10] ND leader to meet with education minister
  • [11] Crosschecks to spot fraudulently received pensions by repatriated Greeks
  • [12] OSCE parliamentary assembly head Efthymiou to seek re-election
  • [13] Govt cites 200-mln-euro support programme for enterprises
  • [14] Deregulation of taxi sector effective as of July 2
  • [15] Increase in tourist arrivals on Rhodes and Dodecanese complex
  • [16] Business Briefs
  • [17] Stocks end slightly down
  • [18] Greek bond market closing report
  • [19] ADEX closing report
  • [20] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [21] Special Olympics ending ceremony
  • [22] 'Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, A Timeless Contemporary' exhibition opens on Andros
  • [23] 210 kilos of cannabis found accidentally
  • [24] Man arrested at Athens airport with packages of cocaine in stomach
  • [25] Police prevent transfer of illegal immigrants from Greece to Italy
  • [26] Samos: Infant born with lights from cell phones
  • [27] Police arrest 11 for robberies, thefts in downtown Athens
  • [28] Armed robbery in residence in Penteli
  • [29] Youths hurl firebombs at riot police near PASOK party offices
  • [30] Papagou mayor's car targetted by arsonists
  • [31] Wildfire underway on Lesvos island
  • [32] Tour of Crete with canoe/kayak
  • [33] Fair on Tuesday
  • [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [35] President: Expected progress at Cyprus talks, not achieved so far Politics

  • [01] FM on Gaza initiative; statements by spokesman

    Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis on Monday referred to "Greece's aggressive diplomatic initiative" that bears "multiple messages on international level" and seeks the legal transport of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

    In a brief meeting with the press, Lambrinidis pointed out that Athens is in consultation with the UN and the international community on the issue.

    As regards his upcoming visit to Berlin on July 5-6 and Vienna on July 7, he underlined his intention to tour the European countries that "are on the front line in terms of diplomacy" and their people do not understand the efforts made by Greece.

    On his part, foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said that this is "a time of responsibility" referring to developments in the Middle East and also in terms of the safety of the people who participate in the "Free Gaza" flotilla.

    On the Greek initiative for the immediate transport of humanitarian aid to Gaza, he said Lambrinidis had a telephone communication with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The foreign ministry general secretary will meet on Tuesday with Arab ambassadors.

    Meanwhile, an effort is being made to be in contact with the "Free Gaza" flotilla to have the humanitarian aid loaded over to Greek vessels.

    Delavekouras reminded that Athens believes that the Gaza blockade should be lifted and that a peaceful solution should be found.

    Referring to bilateral relations between Greece and Israel, he said they are "extremely improved and useful, considering that the two sides have complementary interests".

    He added that cooperation with Israel does not mean a complete identification with the latter's positions, stressing that this relationship will not have an automatic effect on Greece's relations with the Arab world, "which are ancient and tested".

    Referring to a recent telephone communication between Lambrinidis and his Russian counterpart, he said that they underlined the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation. They discussed Lambrinidis' pending visit to Moscow and agreed that they will meet in New York in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.

    Finally, Delavekouras expressed Greece's intention to participate in a conference on Libya, scheduled to take place later this month in Istanbul, adding that Greece will continue its efforts for a peaceful solution to the conflict in the North African country.

    [02] UN chief backs Greek initiative for Gaza humanitarian aid transport

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed support for Greece's initiative to use Greek vessels to route humanitarian aid to Gaza through regular existing channels, a UN announcement said after a telephone conversation on Sunday night between the UN chief and Greek foreign minister Stavros Lambrinidis.

    "The Secretary-General and the Minister discussed recent developments in the Middle East, including the Secretary-General's efforts to restart talks on the Middle East peace process," the UN statement said, adding that "the Secretary-General thanked the Minister for briefing him on Greece's initiative to use Greek vessels to route humanitarian aid to Gaza through regular existing channels, in close coordination with the United Nations."

    "The Secretary-General expressed his support for the Greek initiative. In his view, it could help to reduce tensions in the region and ensure much-needed aid is delivered to those who need it in Gaza, the statement continued, adding that the UN chief "said the United Nations would work closely with Greece, Israel and Palestinian authorities on this matter.'

    "The Secretary-General said he hoped the flotilla organizers would agree to this initiative," the UN announcement concluded.

    In Athens, a Greek foreign ministry announcement said that Lambrinidis "conferred by telephone today (Sunday) with the Secretary General of the United Nations" and that Lambrinidis "congratulated Mr. Ban on his recent re-election as Secretary General of the UN and expressed the Greek government's will to collaborate closely with him".

    "During their talk, they discussed recent developments in the Middle East, with Mr. Lambrinidis expressing Greece's firm support for the Secretary General's efforts to reopen the talks within the framework of the Middle East peace process. Mr. Lambrinidis also briefed Mr. Ban on Greece's initiative to undertake transport of humanitarian aid to Gaza following relevant actions on the part of NGOs," the foreign ministry said.

    Lambrinidis also "voiced Greece's request for the cooperation of the UN so that the whole effort might be carried out within the framework set forth by the Secretary General in his letter to the Greek Prime Minister and in accordance with existing procedures," the ministry added.

    "Mr. Ban expressed his keen support for the Greek initiative and assured the Greek Foreign Minister that the competent UN services are available to work with Greece to carry it through," the foreign ministry announcement concluded.

    [03] Gaza flotilla ship remains docked in Hania

    The Spanish vessel "Guernica", one of the so-called "Freedom Flotilla II" vessels carrying activists and humanitarian aid to Gaza, has remained docked in Hania, Crete, for the past 16 days.

    The "Guernica", with 45 activists on board, and all other ships participating in the flotilla destined for Gaza are banned from leaving Greek seaports, following a decision by the Greek government.

    The ship's passengers and crew and representatives of groups supporting the Free Gaza movement protested outside the Hania Port Authority building on Monday, charging that the decision to ban its departure is a violation of international law.

    A demonstration will take place in Hania on Monday afternoon.

    [04] Harbour Corps stops ship sailing for Gaza

    The Comores flag ship "Tahrir" which is participating in the sending of humanitarian aid to Gaza sailed from the port of Agios Nikolaos, on the island of Crete, on Monday despite the ban and following an operation carried out to locate it the ship ultimately returned to the gulf of Agios Nikolaos, escorted by the Harbour Corps.

    It is the second ship stopped by the Harbour Corps for ignoring the ministerial decision banning sailings. On Friday, Harbour Corps officials had stopped the American flag ship "Audacity of Hope" that had sailed from Perama with Gaza as its destination.

    [05] FinMin: Initiatives in coming days aim at halting recession, return to growth rates

    The initiatives the Greek government will take in the coming days and weeks aim exclusively at the economy's recovery, halting recession and a return to growth rates, finance minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Monday, prompted by a newspaper report of an "avalanche of new measures" arising from the updated Memorandum agreed on Saturday.

    "The constant recycling of the well-known 'information', which is presented daily as new information, creates a sense of insecurity that obstructs the creative forces of the country," said Venizelos, who is also a government vice-president, commenting on an article appearing in the Athens daily Eleftherotypia.

    According to the newspaper, the updated Memorandum signed on Saturday between the finance minister and the Troika, for the disbursement of the 12 billion euros 5th tranche of the 110 billion euro EU/IMF bailout loan, "contains tens of new, painful measures in addition those ratified by parliament last week".

    Venizelos clarified that the Memorandum "does not contain anything that has not been presented in detail in parliament during the debate and ratification of the Medium-Term Fiscal Adjustment Programme and its Implementation Law".

    "A fundamental prerequisite for the restructuring of the country is the prevalence of a climate of security as regards the framework within which we are acting," Venizelos said.

    "The initiatives that must be undertaken in the next days and weeks have as their only target the recovery of the economy, halt of recession, and return to growth rates, to the benefit of the citizens, and chiefly the unemployed and the weaker income brackets," the finance minister concluded.

    [06] Commission expects progress in Greek debt plan at July 11 Eurogroup meeting

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris)

    A Eurogroup meeting next Monday and, in general, over the next few days, will see progress in the main parametres of a new support programme for Greece, Amadeu Altafaj, a spokesman for EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, told reporters here on Monday.

    The EU spokesman stressed that technical details over the participation of the private sector in a European support programme will be agreed in the coming weeks.

    Altafaj said a new support scheme for Greece was gradually taking shape and underlined the significant progress made over the last few weeks on the issue.

    He noted that a Eurogroup meeting in July 11 was expected to offer more clarity over the participation of the private sector in the scheme.

    Altafaj decline to comment on a report by Standard & Poor's, which said that a French plan for a rollover of Greek debt would be considered as selective default, while he reassured that decisions taken or expected to be reached in the future will mean that "Greece will be able to stand on its feet".

    [07] PM to chair meetings on justice, employment and growth issues on Tuesday

    Three meetings will be held in Parliament under the chairmanship of Prime Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday. The first at 12 noon on justice issues, the second at 14:00 on employment issues and the third at 16:30 on growth issues.

    [08] Gov't calls on parties to take 'clear position' on phenomena of violence

    The government on Monday called on all the political parties to take a clear position on phenomena of violence, prompted by a spate of attacks on ruling party MPs in recent days and violence in central Athens last week.

    "It is a pressing need for all the parties to take a clear position on the phenomena of violence," government spokesman Elias Mossialos said, adding that the recent violent incidents against politicians "do not characterise the entire political space of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left parliamentary alliance", and called on SYRIZA in particular to take a position on announcements by the party's youth organisation.

    Speaking on private radio, Mossialos said that violence prohibits freedom of thought, and cannot be tolerated by society and the citizens.

    He noted that there is complete freedom of expression in Greece, and every form of peaceful expression is allowed and will continue to be allowed. However, he added, violent reactions cannot be accepted and wondered: "Today it is the MPs. Who will be the next target?"

    Mossialos acknowledged that the austerity measures are unfair, but rejected their description as "violent measures" against the citizens.

    "We wouldn't want to be in such a position. We found a situation that was out of control and the limits. The economic violence would have been very great if the country had not ensured its financial obligations," the spokesman said.

    Meanwhile, parliament president Filippos Petsalnikos called the incidents against MPs as "unprecedented" for Greece since the restoration of democracy.

    "These phenomena of counter-demonstratons, counter-protests and attitudes of this kind are unprecedented for our country since the restoration of democracy," Petsalnikos said, adding that he considers them "fascistoid attitudes and mentalities, because fascism is the imposition, through violence, of one's view, a prohibition of expression."

    Speaking on state radio, Petsalnikos said such phenomena had existed before the dictatorship "which we want to forget".

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis, speaking to ANA-MPA, warned that "such phenomena and extremist attitudes" were "butter on the bread of those who are lying in wait against our country", and urged self-restraint and calm, expressing fear that such attitudes abolish democracy in action.

    [09] Papoulias briefed on developments in hydrocarbon sector

    President Karolos Papoulias on Monday was briefed by Deputy Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Ioannis Maniatis on developments in the hydrocarbon exploitation sector.

    Maniatis said a draft law on the establishment of a hydrocarbon research authority will be presented in the Cabinet meeting later in the week, adding that seismic research will be conducted after an international tender.

    He stressed that "the best companies in the sector will be invited and, for the first time, Greece will know the exact size of its hydrocarbon deposits mainly in the Ionian Sea region and south of Crete."

    Papoulias commented that the issue is sensitive and, in view of his formal visit to Israel next week, congratulated Maniatis on the bilateral cooperation.

    [10] ND leader to meet with education minister

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras on Wednesday will meet with Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou to discuss the government-sponsored draft law introducing groundbreaking reforms in the sector of Education.

    On Thursday, Samaras will meet with university rectors, who disagree with certain aspects of the draft law.

    ND underlined that its political stance on the issue will be determined by the comprehensive proposal it has already submitted.

    [11] Crosschecks to spot fraudulently received pensions by repatriated Greeks

    Roughly 21,000 pensions paid by the farmers' state pension and health care fund (OGA) to elderly ethnic Greeks from Albania will be re-examined, after questions have arisen concerning their eligibility, it was announced on Monday.

    Responding to a relevant question by opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) MP Kyriakos Velopoulos, Labour & Social Insurance Minister Giorgos Koutroumanis addressed a document to Parliament, underlining that repatriated ethnic Greeks that are not eligible have been identified as OGA.

    He clarified that OGA's special fund, established for the uninsured elderly in the country, pays out low pensions to Greek nationals and repatriated ethnic Greeks who live in Greece permanently -- and only if they are financially indigent. The latter criteria means that their total income -- including that of their spouse - cannot exceed the monthly pension of 360 euros paid by OGA.

    According to the minister, as far as the roughly 21,000 ethnic Greeks from Albania receiving pensions in Greece, crosschecks will be conducted with the Albanian ID card possessed by all Albanian nationals and the Albanian biometric passport.

    [12] OSCE parliamentary assembly head Efthymiou to seek re-election

    Ruling PASOK MP and parliamentary spokesman Petros Efthymiou will seek re-election as Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly president next week in Belgrade, it was announced on Monday.

    The Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE is the parliamentary dimension of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, whose 56 participating states span the geographical area from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

    Financial News

    [13] Govt cites 200-mln-euro support programme for enterprises

    Development Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis on Monday announced a cash injection scheme worth 200 million euros for enterprises hit by the ongoing crisis, saying the government's main priority was to support new and healthy forces of the economy.

    The programme will begin from September and will cover enterprises operating for at least five years in the sectors of manufacturing, green economy, home building, transport and high value added services which have been mostly hit by the crisis.

    The plan will cover also enterprises with negative balance sheets employing at least one worker on the precondition that they have tax and social insurance clearance and that they will maintain their job positions. Another precondition is that enterprises should have received any state support more than 200,000 euros in the last three years. The ministry expects around 20,000 to benefit from the programme.

    [14] Deregulation of taxi sector effective as of July 2

    Infrastructures, Transport & Networks Minister Yiannis Ragoussis on Monday announced the complete deregulation of the taxi cab sector, clarifying that he will not sign the presidential decree prepared by his predecessor because it did not provide for the issuance of new licences in the greater Athens and Thessaloniki areas, the two most populous regions in the country.

    Deregulation of the specific sector came into effect on July 2, with individuals interested in acquiring a taxi licence now required to merely file an application with regional authorities. The amount of the application fee will be decided within the next three months, and according to Ragoussis, it will be very low. Conditions for acquiring a taxi licence, i.e. a clean criminal record by the applicant, will also be announced soon.

    Ragoussis also announced that public transport means in Athens will soon offer free Wi-Fi wireless internet access to commuters.

    [15] Increase in tourist arrivals on Rhodes and Dodecanese complex

    Tourist arrivals on the island of Rhodes and the other islands of the Dodecanese complex in the Aegean Sea are on the rise, according to travel agents.

    According to data released on Monday, tourist arrivals in June increased by 27 percent in comparison with the same month in 2010.

    Tourist arrivals on charter flights totaled 301,641 in June at Rhodes airport, compared with 237,156 in the same month in 2010.

    Britons and Germans were in first place in arrivals, followed by Italians, Swedes, Russians and Israelis.

    The biggest increase in arrivals to Rhodes were from Israel, up 73.33 percent, followed by Russia, up 61.12 percent, Poland, up 58.62 percent, and Finland, up 41.7 percent.

    Occupancy rates in Rhodes hotels were at high levels, and the same is anticipated for the coming months.

    [16] Business Briefs

    -- Consumer confidence fell to the historic low levels in December 2010, at -75 points in June from -68.5 in May, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) announced on Monday.

    -- Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling SA on Monday announced that Dimitris Lois has officially assumed the post of chief executive of the group, replacing Doros Konstantinou.

    [17] Stocks end slightly down

    Stocks ended slightly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, as investors took profits after a four-day rally in the market last week. A warning by S&P that it could cut Greece's credit rating to selective default if Europe approved a French plan for a rollover of Greek debt including the voluntary participation of private investors, dampened sentiment in the market. The composite index fell 0.16 pct to end at 1,306.45 points, finding strong support at the 1,300 level.

    Turnover was a low 77.316 million euros. The Big Cap index eased 0.09 pct, the Mid Cap index rose 0.11 pct and the Small Cap index ended 0.11 pct higher.

    ATEbank (19.87 pct), Viohalco (1.75 pct) and PPC (1.55 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Marfin Popular Bank (3.08 pct), Ellaktor (2.38 pct) and Hellenic Petroleum (2.12 pct) were top losers.

    The Chemicals (3.43 pct), Insurance (2.04 pct) and Utilities (1.77 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Media (5.13 pct), Financial Services (2.71 pct) and Oil (1.67 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 75 to 69 with another 49 issues unchanged. Euromedica (20 pct), ATEbank (19.87 pct) and AXON Holdings (19.44 pct) were top gainers, while Boutaris (10 pct), Xylemporia (10 pct) and Eurobrokers (9.62 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +2.04%

    Industrials: +1.35%

    Commercial: -1.62%

    Construction: -0.90%

    Media: -5.13%

    Oil & Gas: -1.67%

    Personal & Household: +0.15%

    Raw Materials: -0.31%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.47%

    Technology: -2.06%

    Telecoms: -1.41%

    Banks: +0.04%

    Food & Beverages: +0.60%

    Health: +0.81%

    Utilities: +1.77%

    Chemicals: +3.43%

    Financial Services: -2.71%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Eurobank and DEH.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 3.70

    ATEbank: 1.81

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 10.50

    HBC Coca Cola: 18.67

    Hellenic Petroleum: 6.46

    National Bank of Greece: 5.20

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.40

    OPAP: 11.05

    OTE: 6.31

    Bank of Piraeus: 1.10

    Titan: 16.47

    [18] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased to 13.11 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 13.29 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 16.11 pct and the German Bund 3.0 pct. Turnover in the market was an extremely low 2.0 million euros, which was equally distributed between buy and sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security of the day, with a turnover of 1.0 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved higher. The 12-month rate was 2.18 pct, the six-month rate 1.80 pct, the three-month rate 1.56 pct and the one-month rate 1.33 pct.

    [19] ADEX closing report

    The September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.60 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 31.598 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 8,047 contracts worth 23.784 million euros, with 29,309 short positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 29,738 contracts worth 7.814 million euros, with investment interest focusing on ATEbank's contracts (10,428), followed by Eurobank (2,719), National Bak (5,936), Alpha Bank (1,124), Piraeus Bank (6,435), Cyprus Bank (772), and Mytilineos (286).

    [20] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.471

    Pound sterling 0.915

    Danish kroner 7.571

    Swedish kroner 9.235

    Japanese yen 118.87

    Swiss franc 1.250

    Norwegian kroner 7.876

    Canadian dollar 1.412

    Australian dollar 1.372

    Special Olympics

    [21] Special Olympics ending ceremony

    Athens bid farewell to the approximately 7,000 athletes of the Athens Special Olympics, their coaches and their families from 180 countries wilth the closing ceremony at the Panathenian Stadium on Monday night.

    The end of the Games was declared by Athens Mayor George Kaminis and the lowering of the Special Olympics flag followed with the accompaniment of the Games' hymn composed by Stefanos Korkolis.

    Organising Committee president Anna Despotopoulou said "Greece exists. Greece can," adding that "there is not only darkness and pessimism. There is optimism, strength and humanity."

    Timothy Shriver, president of the international movement of the Special Olympics, said on his part "thank you Athens, thank you volunteers, thank you athletes."

    At the beginning of the ceremony over 300 members of the athletes' delegations paraded with the accompaniment of the music of the Onirama who presented a pop rock spectacle, combined with African sounds from the Batala group.

    Earlier, the artmosphere in the stadium was warmed up with the music of the Emigre, Dimos Anastasiadis, Salina and George Sambanis. The "travellers of the world" were welcomed by Thalia Prokopiou and Themis Georgantas.

    General News

    [22] 'Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, A Timeless Contemporary' exhibition opens on Andros

    "Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, A Timeless Contemporary", a tribute exhibition dedicated to the work of the renowned Greek painter, was inaugurated on Sunday evening at the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation on the island of Andros.

    Running through September 25, the exhibition is "a tribute to an artist who was instrumental in advancing art and thought in Greece as much through his work in painting as through his many writings", according to the organisers.

    More than 100 works derived from various institutions and private collections (71 paintings, 21 drawings and 12 sculptures), made all the more interesting by the fact that the Greek public has only rarely had the chance to see them in the past, will offer the exhibition's visitors a view into an extremely intriguing aspect of that seminal work, though one that is not perhaps widely known.

    Originally inspired by Picasso's and Braque's analytical Cubism and influenced by fauvist investigations into the use of color - notably the work of Matisse - as well as the rhythm of orphic works, Ghika created his own visual universe; a language that was inseparably linked to the light and landscapes of Greece and especially Hydra, the place he held most dear.

    A major representative of what is known as "the generation of the '30s", this "timeless contemporary" (as his close friend, the Nobel winning poet Odysseus Elytis had called him) became the link between the European avant-garde and Greek modernism and has rightfully earned a prominent place in Greek art history, the organisers said.

    The exhibition will be complented by various side-line events, including a round-table discussion on the "generation of the '30s" comrpising eminent personalities of the Arts and Letters.

    [23] 210 kilos of cannabis found accidentally

    Two hundred and ten kilos of cannabis were discovered accidentally by Igoumenitsa police officers near Gonia beach, 3km off Igoumenitsa on Sunday. The drugs were hidden in bushes and were spotted by policemen passing by.

    A 25-year-old Albanian was watching the spot where the drugs had been hidden, waiting for the cannabis to be picked up.

    According to police the drugs were smuggled into Greece by boat from Albania. The Albanian was arrested and the cannabis was confiscated.

    [24] Man arrested at Athens airport with packages of cocaine in stomach

    Dozens of "eggs" of cocaine having a total weight of one kilo and 300 grams had been swallowed by a 31-year-old Nigerian to import them into Greece.

    The man was arrested at Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens at noon on Sunday, while he was in the arrivals lounge where he had only just arrived by air from Lagos, Nigeria, via Dubai.

    The man was considered suspicious of carrying drugs with the swallowing method and with his explicit consent he was led to a hospital on duty where during his treatment he gradually expelled 75 packages of cocaine having different weights.

    [25] Police prevent transfer of illegal immigrants from Greece to Italy

    Police prevented the mass transfer of illegal immigrants from Greece to Italy on Sunday afternoon.

    Police detected a parked van in the region of Agios Panteleimonas and an ensuing check revealed 21 foreign immigrants (17 Afghan nationals and 4 from Pakistan) who were arrested for an "attempt to leave the coutry illegally", while the perpetrators accompanying them are being sought.

    An investigation carried out disclosed that the unkown traffickers attracted foreigners from Victoria Square, central Athens, promising to take them to Italy in return for a fee that relatives of theirs would pay when they arrived at their destination.

    [26] Samos: Infant born with lights from cell phones

    The cell phones of friends and relatives of a pregnant woman were recruited at the hospital on the island of Samos on Friday night to help the woman give birth during a power blackout.

    The woman was in the process of giving birth when a general power blackout occurred on Friday night and the hospital's generator also stopped working 20 minutes later.

    The woman's friends and relatives waiting outside the delivery room suddenly heard the obstetrician calling them to light up the room with whatever they could, and the delivery of the infant was completed under the light cast by their cell phones.

    The local prosecutor was informed of the incident immediately afterwards.

    [27] Police arrest 11 for robberies, thefts in downtown Athens

    Police arrested 11 foreign nationals, Tunisians, Algerians, Afghans, Iraqis and Palestinians in Omonia Square in downtown Athens on Sunday morning for robberies, thefts, drugs, forgeries and other offences.

    According to police, those arrested had created an organised criminal group that carried out robberies and thefts in various parts of central Athens.

    Following investigations lasting for several days, two apartments were detected in Myllerou and Anaxagora streets that the group used to store stolen articles.

    The investigations revealed that the members of the group had carried out three robberies and 71 thefts from cars and stores in the regions of Keramikos, Agios Panteleimonas and Exarchia.

    [28] Armed robbery in residence in Penteli

    ?rmed robbers early Monday broke into a residence in the Athens suburb of Nea Penteli and, holding the 29-year-old owner at gunpoint, made off with an unknown amount of money, jewelry and the woman's car.

    Police later found the car abandoned in a nearby street.

    Police have launched an investigation to locate the perpetrators.

    [29] Youths hurl firebombs at riot police near PASOK party offices

    A group of youths hurled firebombs at riot police guarding the offices of the ruling PASOK party, who were located at the intersection of Navarinou and Mavromihali streets, about 20 minutes before 10 on Monday night.

    The youths threw the firebombs at the riot police without anyone being injured, but a parked car burst into flames. The perpetrators then fled the scene and disappeared.

    [30] Papagou mayor's car targetted by arsonists

    Unknown individuals torched early Monday the car of the mayor of the Athens suburb of Papagou. The perpetrators doused the car, which belongs to the municipality, with a flammable liquid and set fire to it. Minor damage was reported.

    The Fire Brigade rushed to the spot and extinguished the fire.

    [31] Wildfire underway on Lesvos island

    A wildfire broke out in a forested area between the towns of Molyvos and Petra, on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, at 3:30 on Monday afternoon. The fire threatened a small hotel at one time, but winds turned the front to the east to the region of Stypsi.

    Firemen rushed to the area with 10 fire engines, backed by two firefighting aircraft, which were continuing to tackle the fire with the assistance of volunteers. However, their task was being hampered by winds blowing in the region.

    [32] Tour of Crete with canoe/kayak

    Hania citizen Giorgos Perrakis left on Sunday from the Venetian port of Hania to make the tour of Crete with a canoe/kayak. Perrakis aims to send a message of solidarity and to promote the efforts of the parents of disabled children.

    The attempt is scheduled to last 22 days during which he will make stop in several areas of the island.

    Weather Forecast

    [33] Fair on Tuesday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 16C and 36C. Fair in Athens, with southerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 34C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 31C.

    [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Due to a dispute between newspaper distribution agencies and outlets that sell newspapers, only three dailies were on the newsstands in Athens on Monday.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Avalanche of new measures, contained in updated Memorandum signed on Saturday between the Greek finance minister and the Troika, without parliament being briefed on them".

    CITY PRESS (free daily): "Tough clash between university rectors, education ministry".

    METRO: "Matter of...sovereignty - National sovereignty of the Greeks will be restricted".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [35] President: Expected progress at Cyprus talks, not achieved so far

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    "The progress we have been expecting at the Cyprus negotiations has unfortunately not been achieved so far," President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has stressed.

    Speaking Monday in Kiev at a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych, President Christofias noted that he looks forward to his forthcoming meeting with the UN Secretary General and the Turkish Cypriot leader, that will take place in Geneva on the 8th of July, and expressed hope that the Turkish side would show the necessary flexibility.

    President Christofias, who is paying Ukraine an official visit, described his visit as historic, saying that it is the first official visit of a Cypriot President in the country and it underlines the friendship and solidarity, which exist between the two countries, their governments and their peoples.

    The statements were made after the conclusion of a signing ceremony of a series of agreements between the two countries, which were followed by official talks between the Cypriot and Ukrainian delegations in Kiev.

    The two countries have signed a series of agreements and memoranda in the fields of economy, defence, transports and EU issues.

    The agreements, President Christofias said, signal a new beginning in the relations of the two countries and underline their willingness to further enhance their cooperation.

    The Cypriot President expressed Cyprus' readiness to enlarge its financial and commercial relations with Ukraine by signing an agreement on double taxation avoidance. He also said that soon, the negotiations for the conclusion of an agreement for the promotion of investments will be concluded.

    Moreover, he congratulated his Ukrainian counterpart for the assumption of the OSCE presidency for 2013, noting that Cyprus has supported Ukraine's candidacy.

    Referring to the Cyprus issue, he said he informed his counterpart about the recent developments regarding the UN -led Cyprus talks, saying that "the reunification of Cyprus was and remains our goal".

    He explained that the Cyprus talks are being carried out on the agreed basis between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, noting that the basis provides for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as defined in the relevant UN resolutions, for one state with one and only sovereignty, a single international personality and citizenship.

    "We have agreed with the UNSG that the procedure is of Cypriot ownership without any arbitration or timeframes", he went on to say.

    The Cypriot President stressed that "unfortunately the progress we have expected has not been achieved due to Ankara's stance and the stance of the Turkish Cypriot side".

    "We look forward to our forthcoming meeting with the UNSG in Geneva, with the hope that the Turkish side will show the necessary flexibility so that we can go forward", he underlined.

    President Christofias expressed his gratitude for Ukraine's support to Cyprus and especially as regards the Cyprus issue.

    Replying to questions, he said that Cyprus supports the signing of any Ukraine-EU agreements, noting that Cyprus "is a good ambassador of the Ukraine in the EU".

    Concluding, he said he extended an invitation to the Ukrainian President to visit Cyprus, an invitation that has been accepted.

    The Ukrainian President described President Christofias' visit as very important, saying that bilateral relations are now entering a new era.

    He also thanked the Cypriot President for his full support towards Ukraine's European course and expressed hope that this support continues during Cyprus' EU Presidency in the second half of 2012.

    Yanukovych said that the two sides agreed to further develop their cooperation on bilateral, regional and international level.

    Referring to bilateral relations, he said that businesspeople from Ukraine are interested in investing in Cyprus and urged Cypriot businesspeople to invest in Ukraine.

    President Christofias was due later in the day to inaugurate the premises of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in the Ukraine. A Cyprus- Ukraine business forum will also take place.

    Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. Peace talks are currently underway to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country, under a federal roof.

    The UN Secretary General met with the President of the Republic and the Turkish Cypriot leader in November 2010, in New York, inviting them to accelerate the pace of negotiations. A second meeting took place in the Swiss city of Geneva, on January 26 and a third meeting is scheduled for July 7, again in Geneva.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ILIAS MATSIKAS


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